While on a trip to Siargo, the Philippines, South African photographer and filmmaker Martien Janssen captured one of the most breathtaking time lapses of the Milky Way to date. His incredibly rare footage aptly-named “The Perfect Storm,” shows a thunderous lightning storm lighting up the Milky Way during one perfect night overlooking the beach.
Millions of stars move across the sky as lightning bursts across the horizon, illuminating the lower half of the frame.
“This is my masterpiece of 14 months shooting (and chasing storms) in the Philippines”, he writes. Speaking of the difficulty of the shoot he added:
Shooting a photo of lightning is hard. Shooting a time lapse of a lightning storm is much harder. Capturing a multi-hour scene with the Milky Way in the background is the hardest thing I can think of. Top that with capturing it with red sprites (rare huge electrical discharges above the thunderstorm) and you have mission impossible. Here’s the proof that ‘impossible is nothing’!
The rarity of the footage alone is astounding, let alone the technical difficulties. The fact that Janssen was able to capture the extreme differences in light with such clarity is incredible. Using four different cameras, he was able to capture four different time lapses which then took him around a year to piece together.
Regarding his equipment, Janssen said he used a “Nikon D800 + 14-24/f2.8, D800 + 16-35/f4, D7000 + 17-7-/f2.8-4 and Sony RX100iv.” He added:
What’s interesting about the gear is that I used three classes of cameras. The D800 being a professional full-frame-camera, D7000 being an ‘amateur’ crop-camera and a tiny Sony compact camera.
The question we photographers get asked most, above anything else, is what gear we use. People always tend to think it’s the gear that achieves the result. A bigger better camera does not make you a better photographer, any experienced photographer will tell you that.
…don’t let your gear ever stop you from creating whatever you want. It’s not about the gear, it’s about the photographer.
Speaking of the time-lapse he added:
This time lapse is more than a dream come true—it’s achieving a photography goal that I thought would be so hard to do, that I’d spend the rest of my life pursuing it.
Discover more of Janssen’s incredible work on his YouTube channel.